ABA Banking Journal - November 2013 - (Page 6)

editor's column By bill Streeter You do the deeds, now add the words T "In today's media-crazed world, people who quietly go about their business, doing worthwhile work, often go unnoTIced" Bill Streeter bstreeter@sbpub.com 6| ABA BANKING JOURNAL | November 2013 he tag line for this month's cover story could be: "We're better than you think we are." That's a little flip, but the truth is, even in small markets where "everybody knows everything," many people aren't aware of the scope of work, involvement, and support that local banks bring to the community. Not just charitable contributions, but the many good things that the business of banking makes possible, as described so well by Jeff Plagge in his column on page 4. Equally true is that even in small communities, the impact of negative headlines cannot be underestimated or ignored. Ultimately, it's policymakers and the people who influence them who need to know more about what banks do. To paraphrase Plato, "When I hear a man speak, I compare the man and his words and note the correspondence of them." It's not only a wise philosopher that does that. Everybody does it whenever they hear a person speak about themselves or on behalf of an organization. But here's the thing: bankers do in fact walk the walk, to use a more recent expression. And because they do, they can feel comfortable talking about it. The whole thrust of ABA's Amplify program, described in the cover story (p. 22), is to amplify the knowledge and understanding of what banks already do, and have always done. It is not an ad campaign; not a clever slogan. Nor is it intended to imply that "no bank and no banker ever made a mistake." What it is intended to do is help convey the fact that banks occupy a very important role in their communities and in the economy. In today's media-crazed world, people who quietly go about their business, doing worthwhile work, often go unnoticed. If bankers follow the principle that it's better to let deeds speak louder than words- which, as a matter of personal behavior, is commendable-their professional deeds will never be noticed. Worse, there will be no counterargument to the stream of mis- and disinformation about banks. No industry can afford to ignore having its reputation tarnished, even if an individual bank's reputation is spotless. Tarnish is always harder to remove if left untouched for long. No ad or PR campaign can remove it, however. The most effective solution begins, as with so many things, from the grassroots. From there it percolates up to the ears and minds of policymakers and even the media. This is not a short-term fix-nothing from the bottom up could be. But that same factor gives such movements great impact and staying power. And that is what the banking industry needs to restore luster to its reputation. Besides registering on the Amplify website (www.amplifybankers.com), bankers need to generate broad awareness and interest in the program within their bank. Like many excellent ideas, the success of this one will depend on how much bankers actually believe in the need to do something. The alternative is to continue to be frustrated by the lack of understanding of what banks do. It will take work and commitment to change that. But in time, by embracing the steps and using the resources on the Amplify website-meeting with local editors; bringing your congressman to the bank, etc.-the tide of misinformation and misunderstanding will begin to turn. That will pay very healthy dividends. http://www.amplifybankers.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ABA Banking Journal - November 2013

Chairman's View
Editor's Column
The Economy
Picture This
Bank Notes
Will farmland prices hold up?
Tech Topics
What you do, amplified
Inside Farmer Mac
Meeting the challenge of identity theft
Compliance Clinic
Compliance Inbox
Pass the Aspirin
ABA At Your Service
First Person

ABA Banking Journal - November 2013

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